Lorenzo Leggio

Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc., Chief


Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology (CPN)*


*A joint National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Laboratory


National Institutes of Health (NIH)

10 Center Drive (10CRC/15330) MSC 1108

Room 1-5429

Bethesda, MD 20892-1108

telephone: 301.435.9398

e-mail: lorenzo.leggio@nih.gov

Lab e-mail: NIAAACPN@mail.nih.gov

NIDA website: http://irp.drugabuse.gov/Leggio.php


Dr. Lorenzo Leggio serves as the Chief of the Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, a joint NIAAA and NIDA laboratory. Dr. Leggio received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Rome and ‘Agostino Gemelli’ hospital, where he also completed residency and received Board Certification in Internal Medicine. He also received a Masters in ‘Alcohol-related diseases and problems’ from the University of Florence. He was a visiting research associate, then postdoctoral research associate in Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, Providence, RI. In 2010, Dr. Leggio joined the faculty of the Brown University Medical School as Assistant Professor and Core Faculty at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (CAAS). Dr. Leggio’s clinical research has been primarily focused on the treatment of alcohol and substance use disorders, with a special emphasis on the role of feeding-related as well as GABAergic pathways; and on the medical consequences of alcohol use disorder, with a special emphasis on alcoholic liver disease. As a Principal Investigator at Brown University, Dr. Leggio received extramural research funding from NIAAA and NIDA, as well as from the European Foundation for Alcohol Research, Brown University CAAS, ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD). In 2012, Dr. Leggio joined the NIAAA and NIDA Intramural Research Programs (IRPs) as a joint Tenure-Track Clinical Investigator and Section Chief. He was awarded NIH tenure through the Central Tenure Committee and promoted to Senior Investigator in 2018 – two years early before his tenure-track clinical appointment was completed. Dr. Leggio serves as a NIH Senior Attending Medical Staff, the Associate Director for Clinical Research for the NIDA IRP Medication Development Program and as a Faculty Member of the NIH Center on Compulsive Behaviors. Additionally, he is a Professor (Adjunct) at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University.  Dr. Leggio’s lab has pioneered clinical research on the role of neuroendocrine signaling in alcohol- and drug-seeking behaviors via human laboratory studies. He has authored or co-authored over 160 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has served as a regular reviewer for many journals, reviewer for NIH study sections and other U.S. and international funding agencies and member of an FDA Advisory Board. He currently serves on the editorial board of several addiction-related journals and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Peter G. Dodge Foundation. Dr. Leggio has served as Chair (Medical/Clinical) of the 2016 Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) Program Committee, is a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and is also Founder and Chair of the Psychoneuroendocrinology Scientific Interest Group within the NIH IRP. Among other awards, he received the 2008 European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism (ESBRA) Nordmann Award, the 2015 NIAAA Clinical Service Award, the 2016 NIAAA Mentoring Award, the 2016 RSA Early Career Investigator Award and the 2018 NIAAA Scientific Achievement Award. In 2018, Dr. Leggio was presented with the ACNP Eva King Killam Award on the basis of outstanding translational research contributions to neuropsychopharmacology.


What we do


Dr. Leggio's CPN laboratory conducts clinical and translational inpatient and outpatient studies to identify possible novel medications for addiction. His group uses a combination of state-of-the-art, innovative bio behavioral and pharmacological procedures performed under well-controlled human laboratory conditions. Imaging brain techniques, such as fMRI and PET, are also employed. Dr. Leggio and his team are particularly interested in the role of the gut-liver-brain axis in alcohol- and drug-seeking behaviors. Specifically, the CPN laboratory is currently investigating the potential role of feeding-related pathways, such as ghrelin, leptin, oxytocin and GLP-1, as possible new neuropharmacological targets for the treatment of alcohol and substance use disorders. Other neuroendocrine pathways are also under investigation, such as the aldosterone / mineralocorticoid receptor pathway. The CPN laboratory has recently expanded its research looking at the role of the gut microbiota in heavy drinkers with a special emphasis on the relationships between alcohol-related seeking behaviors and the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Future research includes work on the effects of bariatric surgery on alcohol-related seeking behaviors. Both preclinical and human approaches are under development to shed light on the possible role of these pathways in alcohol and substance use disorders.


Press Releases, News and Videos: 


2019 Coleman Research Awardees


Ghrelin Hunger Hormone in Alcohol Dependence


Muscle Relaxant Treat Alcohol Dependence and Anxiety


Aldosterone and Alcohol Use Disorder


PGDF Grant and Gut Microbiome Research


RSA Honors CPN Chief Lorenzo Leggio


CNN's Sanjay Gupta Meets with NIAAA Director, Visits Laboratory and "Virtual Bar" for Clinical Research


Research team continues to collaborate, progress with Bench-to-Bedside award


NIH to fund collaborations with industry to identify new uses for existing compounds



Current Staff

Mary Lee

Mary R. Lee, M.D.
Associate Research Physician
telephone: 301.827.0545
Dr. Mary Lee received her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1989. She completed residency in internal medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and subsequently completed a psychiatric residency at George Washington University. Dr. Lee is board certified in psychiatry, internal medicine and addiction medicine. She joined the CPN laboratory in November of 2012. Her research has focused on the effect of intranasal oxytocin on drug craving, reward learning, and emotional processing in drug dependent and schizophrenic patients. In addition, she has investigated the neurobehavioral effects of genetic polymorphisms, COMT and OPRM, on reward processing in smokers and drug users.  Her current research is on the role of oxytocin in alcohol and drug use disorders. She was the PI of a translational and clinical project studying the role of oxytocin in alcohol use disorder for which she received a NIH Bench-to-Bedside (B2B) Award by the Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). She is collaborating with George Mason University on a project funded by the Department of Defense aimed at investigating the role of oxytocin in long-term bonding. In 2018, Dr. Lee was presented with the NIAAA Clinical Service Award.

Lisa Farinelli

Lisa A. Farinelli, M.B.A., R.N., B.S.N., C.C.R.P., O.H.C.C.  
Deputy Chief of Management and Administration
telephone: 301.640.1924
Lisa Farinelli is the Deputy Chief of Management and Administration in the CPN laboratory. She received her nursing degree from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York, NY. She comes to NIAAA well prepared with 30 years of extensive clinical and management expertise having worked in both the private and public sectors. She received her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Maryland, University College (College Park, MD).  She worked at NINDS before joining NIAAA in 2012. As the Manager for Dr. Leggio and his laboratory with advanced certifications as a Certified Clinical Research Professional and an Officer of Health Care Compliance, she supervises the clinical and research activity and assumes responsibility for all regulatory compliance efforts toward the CPN mission conducting clinical inpatient and outpatient proof-of-concept human laboratory studies. She serves as a representative on all collaborations within the NIH as well as outside organizations. Ms. Farinelli also serves as a member of the NIH Intramural IRB. Her research interests include theories and principles of motivation in bioethics and is presently working on a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, College of Nursing.  In 2016, Ms. Farinelli was presented with the NIAAA Operational Excellence Award.

Mehdi Farokhnia

Mehdi Farokhnia, M.D.
Staff Scientist 
telephone: 301.827.1488
Dr. Mehdi Farokhnia received his medical degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2012 and joined the CPN laboratory in May 2014. His research has been focused on investigating the neurobiological mechanism underlying psychiatric disorders to identify novel neuropsychopharmacological targets.  As a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dr. Leggio’s laboratory, Dr. Farokhnia has conducted several projects including two major clinical protocols (13-AA-0040 and 13-AA-0043) as Lead Associate Investigator. Dr. Farokhnia is also interested in investigating innovative methodological approaches that may best translate preclinical findings into human research, with a particular focus on behavioral pharmacology and substance use. Dr. Farokhnia has been the recipient of several awards from Society of Biological Psychiatry, American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Society for Neuroscience, International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology, Research Society on Alcoholism, International Society of Addiction Medicine and College on Problems of Drug Dependence. He also received a Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2018, Dr. Farokhnia was awarded with a fellowship from the NIH Center on Compulsive  Behaviors to study the neurobiological correlates and pharmacotherapeutic implications of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in compulsive alcohol use. In 2019, Dr. Farokhnia was awarded a William G. Coleman Jr., Ph.D., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and a Pathways Research Award funded by the Alkermes Pathways Research Awards Program.

Photo of Monica Faulkner

Monica Faulkner, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow
telephone: 301.435.9383
Dr. Monica Faulkner received her PhD in Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Spring of 2018 and joined the CPN laboratory in May 2018. Her research has focused on investigating the neuromechanisms of addiction using cognitive behavioral testing, neuroimaging, and pharmacology. Most recently, she has worked on identifying biomarkers and changes in reward circuitry in populations with alcohol and substance use disorders. Combining evidence from preclinical and translational neuroimaging studies, she probed the role of dopamine and the mesolimbic circuit in attentional bias to alcohol related stimuli using dietary dopamine depletion methods and resting state fMRI. Dr. Faulkner has been the recipient of several research awards from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the Research Society on Alcoholism and received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship from NIAAA. As a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dr. Leggio’s laboratory, Dr. Faulkner is working on psychoneuroendocrinology and neuroimaging studies on the role of the ghrelin system and other gut-brain pathways on alcohol consumption and its underlying neural mechanisms in individuals with alcohol use disorder. In 2019, Dr. Faulkner was awarded a William G. Coleman Jr., Ph.D., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).

Photo of Daria Piacentino

Daria Piacentino, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc.
Visiting Fellow
telephone: 301.451.6965
Dr. Daria Piacentino joined Dr. Lorenzo Leggio’s CPN laboratory in February 2018. She received both her M.D. and Ph.D. in Clinical Experimental Neurosciences and Psychiatry from Sapienza University of Rome. In 2013-2014, Dr. Piacentino was a Research Fellow at Sapienza University of Rome after being awarded an Italian Ministry of Research grant to investigate the use and misuse of anabolic steroids and new psychoactive drugs in a young sports population. In 2015 she received a Masters in Medical Statistics and Statistical Methods for Epidemiology from the University of Milan. In 2018, she completed clinical residency in Psychiatry at Sapienza University of Rome and Sant’Andrea Hospital. Her research has focused on the use of deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for alcohol and cocaine use disorders, the effects of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) in athletes, the implementation of statistical models to investigate the harm due to substance use disorder, and the psychopathology and role of the gut-brain axis in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Dr. Piacentino has been the recipient of several awards, including an American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology New Investigator Award in 2019. As a Visiting Fellow in Dr. Leggio’s laboratory, Dr. Piacentino is investigating alcohol use patterns and the link with psychiatric and medical features, as well as the role of the microbiome-gut-brain axis in alcohol-seeking behaviors. For the latter area of research, she was also awarded with a fellowship from the NIH Center on Compulsive Behaviors in 2019.
Jillian Battista
Jillian Battista, B.Sc.
Post-bac IRTA Fellow
telephone: 301.827.1487

Jillian Battista joined CPN in July 2018. She graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biobehavioral Health and minors in Neuroscience and Psychology. Her undergraduate research focused on examining the effects of aging on cognitive abilities in adults through neuroimaging studies. Her primary roles at CPN include providing support with recruitment and screening efforts, as well as support with human laboratory studies testing the role of the gut-liver-brain axis in alcohol-seeking behaviors. Jillian is primarily interested in researching how stress and cortisol impact alcohol-seeking behaviors and their effect on the liver.


Brittany Browning

Brittney Browning, B.Sc.
Post-bac IRTA Fellow
Telephone: 301.451.6974
Brittney Browning joined CPN in August of 2018. She graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and minor in Biology. During her undergraduate career, her research primarily focused on investigating how genetic and environmental factors influence the development of psychopathology. Her professional interests lie in integrating neuroimaging, pharmacology, and molecular genetics to better understand the biological pathways mediating individual vulnerability to addiction. Brittney’s roles in CPN include providing support with recruitment, screening efforts, as well as human laboratory studies testing the role of the gut-liver-brain axis in alcohol-seeking behaviors.



Adrian Gregory-Flores

Adriana Gregory-Flores, B.Sc.
Post-Bac IRTA Fellow
telephone: 443.740.2714
e-mail: adriana.gregory-flores@nih.gov


Adriana Gregory-Flores joined CPN in June 2018. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a focus in Neuroscience. Her undergraduate research focused on neuroinflammation and disease modification in epileptogenesis and epilepsy. Adriana is primarily interested in studying the mechanisms underlying drug-seeking behavior (specifically alcohol and opioids) to develop effective pharmacological procedures in addiction. She is involved in interdisciplinary collaborative research projects between Dr. Leggio and Dr. Leandro Vendruscolo, Neurobiology of Addiction Section, NIDA Intramural Research Program. She is currently conducting research on preclinical investigations of ghrelin’s mechanistic actions in addiction through transgenic and pharmacological manipulations of the ghrelin system.


Adjunct CPN Staff (not supported by CPN NIH IRP funding) 

Adjunct Staff (on campus)
Dr. Portelli
Jeanelle Portelli, Ph.D.
Special Volunteer
Dr. Jeanelle Portelli joined CPN in June 2017. She started her studies in Pharmacy at the University of Malta (Malta), where she graduated in 2007. In 2012, she earned a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a focus on Neuropharmacology from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). Her Ph.D. and subsequent postdoctoral research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Gent (Belgium) focused on the role of neuropeptides and G-protein-coupled receptors as potential targets for the development of new antiepileptic drugs for patients with refractory epilepsy. Dr. Portelli has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and was the first editor of a book focusing on the central function of the ghrelin receptor. She has served as a regular reviewer for several Journals and grant proposals, and has presented her research findings at different international conferences. Her current research interests at CPN involve the role of the ghrelin system in addictions and mental health disorders.
Adjunct Staff (off campus) 
Dr Haas-Koffler
Carolina L. Haass-Koffler, Pharm.D.
Special Volunteer
Dr. Carolina Haass-Koffler is a translational Investigator who coalesces preclinical and clinical research towards examining biobehavioral mechanisms of addiction and developing novel medications. Her education includes chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, pharmacology from the University of California, San Francisco, neuroscience from the Gallo Center and human pharmacology research from Brown University. During her academic career, she has developed an interdisciplinary skill-set that is helping her to conceptualize and execute bench-to-bedside research and to facilitate the cross-talk between academia, NIH and the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Haass-Koffler is an Assistant Professor at the Departments of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Behavioral and Social Sciences of Brown University. She is an adjunct member (Special Volunteer) in the CPN laboratory.  She developed a novel stress-induced alcohol drinking paradigm which is currently tested in a medication human laboratory study funded by an NIAAA K01 grant. She is also studying the role of neuroendocrine pathways in alcohol use disorder (e.g.: ghrelin, leptin, insulin) to identify new treatment targets and completing a series of translational experiments on the role of the corticotropin releasing factor binding protein in alcohol use disorder.
Ethan Mereish photo
Ethan Mereish, Ph.D.
Special Volunteer
Dr. Ethan Mereish is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Studies at American University. He received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. He completed a clinical psychology residency at Harvard Medical School and a postdoctoral research fellowship at Brown University. His research focuses on understanding the effects of social, psychological, and cultural determinants of health for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and racial/ethnic minorities as well as factors that promote their resilience. Dr. Mereish is currently working on three NIH-funded studies examining the effects of minority stress on mental health and substance use among sexual minority youth and adults. Dr. Mereish is also a licensed psychologist in the District of Columbia.
Dr. Goodyear
Kimberly S. Goodyear, Ph.D. 
Special Volunteer
Dr. Kimberly Goodyear is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University, Providence RI.  Her research focuses on the underlying neurobiological mechanisms involved with metabolism, neuroendocrine pathways and alcohol consumption.  She is investigating the involvement of feeding-related hormones (e.g., leptin and oxytocin) and their relationship with alcohol use and dependence via human laboratory studies and neuroimaging techniques.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from George Mason University (GMU) in 2016.  She joined CPN in June 2015 as a Special Volunteer while she was a GMU graduate student. Dr. Goodyear is continuing to work with Dr. Leggio and his group at CPN as a Special Volunteer.

Current Research Support

Dr. Leggio’s CPN Section is funded jointly by the Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Additional Research Support
  • Dr. Leggio is one of the two PIs (Co-PI: Dr. Fatemeh Akhlaghi, URI) of an NCATS-funded grant award (funding limited to the extramural site at URI) designed as an NIH-Academia-Industry collaborative project (ghrelin receptor antagonism project)
  • Dr. Leggio is the recipient of a grant award from the Peter G. Dodge Foundation (gut microbiome project)
  • Dr. Farokhnia and Dr. Faulkner are the co-recipients of one of the 2019 William G. Coleman Jr., Ph.D., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) (racial disparity in alcohol use disorder).
  • Dr. Farokhnia is the recipient of a 2019 Pathways Research Award funded by the Alkermes Pathways Research Awards Program (GLP-1).
  • Dr. Lee has received funding from Department of Defense as part of a collaborative project led by George Mason University (oxytocin in long-term bonding).
Previous Research Support
  • Dr. Leggio was the recipient of a NARSAD Young Investigator grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (baclofen)
  • Dr. Lee was the recipient of an NIH Bench-to-Bedside (B2B) grant award funded by the Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research (oxytocin)



Current Clinical Protocols

Protocol 16-AA-0080: A Novel Compound for Alcoholism Treatment: a Translational Strategy - Part II




Protocol 17-AA-0093: Exploring Gut-Brain and Brain-Gut Interactions in Alcohol Use Disorder via Microbiota Investigations: A Pilot Study




Previous Clinical Protocols

Protocol 13-AA-0040: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Human Laboratory Pilot Study of Baclofen in Anxious Alcoholics


Protocol 13-AA-0043: Effects of Ghrelin on Alcohol Administration in Non-Treatment Seeking Heavy Drinkers


Protocol 14-AA-0042: A Novel Compound for Alcoholism Treatment: A Translational Strategy



Selected Publications

  1. Adusumalli S, Jamwal R, Obach RS, Ryder TF, Leggio L, Akhlaghi F. Role of Molybdenum-Containing Enzymes in the Biotransformation of the Novel Ghrelin Receptor Inverse Agonist PF-5190457: A Reverse Translational Bed-to-Bench Approach. Drug Metab Dispos. 2019 PMID: 31182423.
  2. Agabio R, Leggio L. HIV and alcohol use disorder: we cannot ignore the elephant in the room. Lancet HIV. 2019 PMID: 31109914.
  3. Wenthur CJ, Gautam R, Zhou B, Vendruscolo LF, Leggio L, Janda KD. Ghrelin Receptor Influence on Cocaine Reward is Not Directly Dependent on Peripheral Acyl-Ghrelin. Sci Rep. 2019; 9:1841.
  4. Farokhnia M, Faulkner ML, Piacentino D, Lee MR, Leggio L. Ghrelin: From a gut hormone to a potential therapeutic target for alcohol use disorder. Physiol Behav. 2019; 204: 49-57.
  5. Zallar LJ, Beurmann S, Tunstall BJ, Fraser CM, Koob GF, Vendruscolo LF, Leggio L. Ghrelin receptor deletion reduces binge-like alcohol drinking in rats. J Neuroendocrinol. 2018 Nov 20:e12663. PMID: 30456835.
  6. Agabio R, Sinclair JM, Addolorato G, Aubin HJ, Beraha EM, Caputo F, Chick JD, de La Selle P, Franchitto N, Garbutt JC, Haber PS, Heydtman M, Jaury P, Lingford-Hughes AR, Morley KC, Müller CA, Owens L, Pastor A, Paterson LM, Pélissier F, Rolland B, Stafford A, Thompson A, van den Brink W, de Beaurepaire R, Leggio L. Baclofen for the treatment of alcohol use disorder: the Cagliari Statement. Lancet Psychiatry. 2018;5:957-960.
  7. Farokhnia M, Deschaine SL, Sadighi A, Farinelli LA, Lee MR, Akhlaghi F, Leggio L. A deeper insight into how GABA-B receptor agonism via baclofen may affect alcohol seeking and consumption: lessons learned from a human laboratory investigation. Mol Psychiatry. 2018; PMID: 30382188.
  8. Farokhnia M, Lee MR, Farinelli LA, Ramchandani VA, Akhlaghi F, Leggio L. Pharmacological manipulation of the ghrelin system and alcohol hangover symptoms in heavy drinking individuals: Is there a link? Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2018;172:39-49.
  9. Bouhlal S, Farokhnia M, Lee MR, Akhlaghi F, Leggio L. Identifying and Characterizing Subpopulations of Heavy Alcohol Drinkers Via a Sucrose Preference Test: A Sweet Road to a Better Phenotypic Characterization? Alcohol Alcohol 2018; 53: 560-569.
  10. Lee MR, Sheskier MB, Farokhnia M, Feng N, Marenco S, Lipska BK, Leggio L. Oxytocin receptor mRNA expression in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in major psychiatric disorders: A human post-mortem study. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2018; 96: 143-147.
  11. Morris LS, Voon V, Leggio L. Stress, motivation and the gut-brain axis: A focus on the ghrelin system and alcohol use disorder. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018; PMID: 29797564
  12. Lee MR, Tapocik JD, Ghareeb M, Schwandt ML, Dias AA, Le AN, Cobbina E, Farinelli LA, Bouhlal S, Farokhnia M, Heilig M, Akhlaghi F, Leggio L. The novel ghrelin receptor inverse agonist PF-5190457 administered with alcohol: preclinical safety experiments and a phase 1b human laboratory study. Mol Psychiatry 2018; PMID: 29728704.
  13. Zallar LJ, Tunstall BJ, Richie CT, Zhang YJ, You ZB, Gardner EL, Heilig M, Pickel J, Koob GF, Vendruscolo LF, Harvey BK, Leggio L. Development and Initial Characterization of a Novel Ghrelin Receptor CRISPR/Cas9 Knockout Wistar Rat Model. Int J Obes (Lond) 2018 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29453460; PMCID: PMC6066458.
  14. Farokhnia M, Grodin EN, Lee MR, Oot EN, Blackburn AN, Stangl BL, Schwandt ML, Farinelli LA, Momenan R, Ramchandani VA, Leggio L. Exogenous ghrelin administration increases alcohol self-administration and modulates brain functional activity in heavy-drinking alcohol-dependent individuals. Mol Psychiatry. 2018;23:2029-2038
  15. Diana M, Raij T, Melis M, Nummenmaa A, Leggio L, Bonci A. Rehabilitating the addicted brain with transcranial magnetic stimulation. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2017; 18: 685-9
  16. Bouhlal S, Ellefsen KN, Sheskier MB, Singley E, Pirard S, Gorelick DA, Huestis MA, Leggio L. Acute effects of intravenous cocaine administration on serum concentrations of ghrelin, amylin, glucagon-like peptide-1, insulin, leptin and peptide YY and relationships with cardiorespiratory and subjective responses. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017; 180: 68-75
  17. Aoun EG, Jimenez VA, Vendruscolo LF, Walter NAR, Barbier E, Ferrulli A, Haass-Koffler CL, Darakjian P, Lee MR, Addolorato G, Heilig M, Hitzemann R, Koob GF, Grant KA, Leggio L. A relationship between the aldosterone-mineralocorticoid receptor pathway and alcohol drinking: preliminary translational findings across rats, monkeys and humans. Mol Psychiatry 2018; 23: 1466-1473
  18. Lee MR, Scheidweiler KB, Diao XX, Akhlaghi F, Cummins A, Huestis MA, *Leggio L, *Averbeck BB [*co-senior authors]. Oxytocin by intranasal and intravenous routes reaches the cerebrospinal fluid in rhesus macaques: determination using a novel oxytocin assay. Mol Psychiatry 2018; 23: 115-122.
  19. Farokhnia M, Schwandt ML, Lee MR, Bollinger JW, Farinelli LA, Amodio JP, Sewell L, Lionetti TA, Spero DE, Leggio L. Biobehavioral effects of baclofen in anxious alcohol-dependent individuals: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, laboratory study. Transl Psychiatry 2017; 7: e1108
  20. Temko JE, Bouhlal S, Farokhnia M, Lee MR, Cryan JF, Leggio L. The Microbiota, the Gut and the Brain in Eating and Alcohol Use Disorders: A 'Ménage à Trois'? Alcohol Alcohol 2017; 52: 403-13
  21. Creed M, Bonci A, Leggio L. Modulating Morphine Context-Induced Drug Memory With Deep Brain Stimulation: More Research Questions by Lowering Stimulation Frequencies? Biol Psychiatry 2016; 80: 647-9
  22. Blackburn AN, Hajnal A, Leggio L. The gut in the brain: the effects of bariatric surgery on alcohol consumption. Addict Biol 2017; 22: 1540-53
  23. Lee MR, Leggio L. Management of Alcohol Use Disorder in Patients Requiring Liver Transplant. Am J Psychiatry 2015; 172: 1182-9
  24. Kenna GA, Haass-Koffler CL, Zywiak WH, Edwards SM, Brickley MB, Swift RM, Leggio L. Role of the α(1) blocker doxazosin in alcoholism: a proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial. Addict Biol. 2016; 21: 904-14
  25. Suchankova P, Yan J, Schwandt ML, Stangl BL, Caparelli EC, Momenan R, Jerlhag E, Engel JA, Hodgkinson CA, Egli M, Lopez MF, Becker HC, Goldman D, Heilig M, Ramchandani VA, Leggio L. The glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor as a potential treatment target in alcohol use disorder: evidence from human genetic association studies and a mouse model of alcohol dependence. Transl Psychiatry 2015; 5: e583
  26. Ghareeb M, Leggio L, El-Kattan A, Akhlaghi F. Development and validation of an UPLC-MS/MS assay for quantitative analysis of the ghrelin receptor inverse agonist PF-5190457 in human or rat plasma and rat brain. Anal Bioanal Chem 2015; 407: 5603-13
  27. Leggio L, Zywiak WH, Fricchione SR, Edwards SM, de la Monte SM, Swift RM, Kenna GA. Intravenous Ghrelin Administration Increases Alcohol Craving in Alcohol-Dependent Heavy Drinkers: A Preliminary Investigation. Biol Psychiatry 2014; 76: 734-41
  28. Kenna GA, Zywiak WH, Swift RM, McGeary JE, Clifford JS, Shoaff JR, Vuittonet C, Fricchione S, Brickley M, Beaucage K, Haass-Koffler CL, Leggio L. Ondansetron Reduces Naturalistic Drinking in Nontreatment-Seeking Alcohol-Dependent Individuals with the LL 5'-HTTLPR Genotype: A Laboratory Study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2014; 38: 1567-74
  29. Leggio L, Ferrulli A, Cardone S, Nesci A, Miceli A, Malandrino N, Capristo E, Canestrelli B, Monteleone P, Kenna GA, Swift RM, Addolorato G. Ghrelin system in alcohol-dependent subjects: role of plasma ghrelin levels in alcohol drinking and craving. Addict Biol 2012; 17: 452-64
  30. Addolorato G, Leggio L, Ferrulli A, Cardone S, Vonghia L, Mirijello A, Abenavoli L, D'Angelo C, Caputo F, Zambon A, Haber PS, Gasbarrini G. Effectiveness and safety of baclofen for maintenance of alcohol abstinence in alcohol-dependent patients with liver cirrhosis: randomised, double-blind controlled study. Lancet 2007; 370: 1915-22



Section Alumni  

  • Steven Edwards, B.Sc., Research Assistant (Brown University): 2010-2012
  • Samuel Fricchione, B.Sc., Research Assistant (Brown University): 2010-2012
  • Christine Goodwin, M.Sc., Research Volunteer (Brown University): 2012
  • Eugenia Gurvich, Undergraduate Student (Brown University): 2012
  • Allison Feduccia, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow: 2012-2013
  • Jared Bollinger, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2012-2014
  • Emily Oot, B.A., Technical IRTA Fellow: 2012-2014
  • Lexi Dias, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2012-2014
  • Petra Suchankova Karlsson, Ph.D., Guest Researcher: 2013
  • Myung Ha Jung, BSN, Special Volunteer: 2013-2014
  • Christian Frable, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2013-2015
  • Elie Aoun, M.D., Clinical Resident in Psychiatry (Brown University): 2013-2016
  • Ashley Blackburn, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2014-2015
  • Lindsay Arcurio, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow: 2014-2015
  • Mohammad (Omar) Bukhari, B.Sc., Summer Internship Program Student, 2015
  • April Le, M.Sc., Technical IRTA Fellow: 2014-2016
  • Jonathan Amodio, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2014-2016
  • Matthew Rohn, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2014-2016
  • Arman Terzian, B.Sc., Special Volunteer: 2015-2016
  • Jamie E. Temko, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2015-2016
  • Andrew Aston, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2015-2016
  • Kimberly Goodyear, Ph.D. Candidate at GMU, Special Volunteer: 2015-2016
  • Breanne Hobden, Ph.D. Candidate at University of Newcastle (Australia): Special Volunteer and Recipient of the Adam J Berry Memorial Fund Award: 2016
  • Tejasav Sehrawat, Medical Student at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh (India): NIH Clinical Electives Program Student: 2016-2017
  • Mahrokh Shayanpour, M.D., Resident at St. Elisabeth Hospital, Special Volunteer: 2017
  • Sam Klueter, Student at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School: Special Volunteer: 2016-2017
  • Allison Daurio, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2015-2017
  • Andrew Yi, Student at Richard Montgomery High School: Summer Internship Program Student: 2017
  • Sabra Sisler, Student at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School: Special Volunteer: 2017-2018
  • Sofia Bouhlal, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow: 2015-2018
  • Vignesh Sankar, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2016-2018
  • Mikela Sheskier, B.A., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2016-2018
  • Lia Zallar, B.A., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2016-2018
  • Sara Deschaine, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2016-2018
  • Kathryn Cowie, Student at Wake Forest University: Summer Internship Program Student: 2018
  • Gray McDiarmid, B.Sc., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2016-2018
  • Aaron Hammer, B.A., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2017-2018
  • Vikas Munjal, B.S.P.H., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2018-2019
  • Julia Harris, Student at American University: Summer Internship Program Student: 2019
  • Sarah Min, B.A., Post-Bac IRTA Fellow: 2018-2019


Reviewed November 2019